Tagged: employment rate

Coalfield areas still feeling effects of pit closures, report says

 Effects of the closure of the region’s pits are still being felt more than a quarter of a century on, according to a new report.

Research shows the employment rate in coalfield areas is lower than elsewhere, with fewer jobs per people, more than 25 years after the pit closures of the 1980s.

More people in those areas also report long-term health problems and more claim out-of-work benefits.

Now, an MP in the region has claimed the coalfields “haven’t recovered from the devastation of the ideological attacks of the eighties and nineties” and blamed “recent government policies” for making matters worse.

Dave Anderson, Labour MP for Blaydon joined a body set up to regenerate Britain’s coalfields in calling on the government to invest in former pit areas.

Yet Conservative councillor David Bawn defended the government, insisting employment in the region overall is actually on the up.

The ‘State of the Coalfields’ report was commissioned by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and carried out by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University.

It found the employment rate in the largest UK coalfields is between 2% and 7% lower than the average for England and Wales, and between 5% and 10% lower than the South East.

There are only 50 jobs for every 100 adults of working age in the coalfields, where more than 5.5 million people are said to live, significantly lower than the national average of 67%.

It also claims 11.7% of people living in the coalfields report long-term health problems compared to 8.6% nationally. Some 8.4% of adults claim incapacity benefit, 2.2% higher than the national average and almost double the South East England average.

The report also claims that 14% of adults in the coalfields are on out-of-work benefits, 4% higher than the national average.

Mr Anderson, chairman of the Coalfield Communities All-Party Parliamentary Group, said: “This report confirms what those of us who still live in the coalfields know only too well, that as always it’s the people at the sharp end of society who get hit the hardest in times of austerity.

“The coalfields haven’t recovered from the devastation of the ideological attacks of the eighties and nineties and this report shows that recent government policies have only made matters worse.

“Now more than ever we have to champion the work of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and demand that it is properly funded on a sustainable basis.”

Chairman of the regeneration trust Peter McNestry added: “We have come a long way in the last 15 years but the recession had a disproportionate effect on the people living and working in the coalfields, which means they continue to need our support, guidance and funding.

“The coalfields simply want the opportunity to get back on their feet. These towns and villages could thrive and make a positive contribution to the country if we give them the chance.”

Yet Conservative Mr Bawn, a Northumberland County Councillor for Morpeth, said some of the data is out of date and “the periods quoted vary between 2011 to 2013 and therefore make meaningful comparisons difficult.

He added: “However, if you refer to the lastest figures released by the Office for National Statistics showing the figures up to April this year you will notice that employment in the North East has increased by 1.5% and is one of the largest increases in the country just behind the South West on 1.6%.

“We are not out of the woods yet, but the Government’s long term plan is working. The economic indicators are getting better all the time, and the main thing that could derail our recovery is the prospect of Ed Milliband in Downing Street.”

Source –  Newcastle Journal,  29 July 2014

North East Unemployment figure rises by 5,000

Unemployment in the North East has increased by 5,000 in the quarter to May, official figures have revealed.

 According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a total of 129,000 people were unemployed in the region between March and May.

The region’s unemployment rate was 9.6% and saw a rise of 4.0% during the period.

Nationwide, the new Cabinet was given good news with the latest figures showing record employment and another huge fall in the numbers out of work.

> Except in the North East…

More than 30 million people are in work, an increase of almost one million over the past year, the best figures since records began in 1971. Unemployment fell by 121,000 in the quarter to May, to 2.12 million, the lowest since the end of 2009.

> Except in the North East…

The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell by 36,300 in June to 1.04 million, the 20th consecutive monthly fall and the lowest total since 2008.

Economic inactivity, covering those looking after a relative, on long-term sick leave, or no longer looking for work, was 67,000 lower at just under 8.8 million, the lowest figure for more than a decade.

Just over 78% of men and 68% of women are in work, giving an employment rate of 73.1%.

Other figures from the ONS showed that more than 4.5 million people were self-employed, the highest since records began in 1992, after an increase of 404,000 over the past year.

Average earnings increased by 0.3% in the year to May, 0.5% down on the previous month, giving average weekly pay of £478. The 0.3% rise was the lowest since 2009, while excluding bonuses, the figure was 0.7%, the lowest since records began in 2001.

Long-term and youth unemployment have both continued to fall. The number of jobless 16-to-24-year-olds fell by 64,000 over the latest quarter to 817,000, including 283,000 full-time students looking for part-time work.

There was also a drop in the number of people in a part-time job wanting full-time work – down by 61,000 to 1.3 million.

Job vacancies were up by 30,000 to 648,000, an increase of more than 100,000 on a year ago, but 48,000 fewer than the pre-recession peak at the start of 2008.

Employment Minister Esther McVey said: “An important milestone has been reached in our country’s recovery. With one of the highest employment rates ever, it’s clear that the Government’s long-term economic plan to help businesses create jobs and get people working again is the right one.

> Except in the North East…

“With an employment rate which has never been higher, record women in work and more young people in jobs, the resilience of the country during the downturn is being rewarded. We know there is more to do, and the best way to do so is to go on delivering a plan that’s creating growth and jobs.”

> Except in the North East…

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Today’s figures show more people have the security of a job than ever before. Full employment is a key aim of our long-term economic plan.”

> Except in the North East…

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “More people up and down the country are finding jobs as we build a stronger, more balanced economy. And today we have the highest employment rate on record, which shows that this Government has created the right conditions for growth.

> Except in the North East…

We have made the tough decisions to reduce our deficit – lifting around three million people out of tax so they keep more of what they earn, healing the scar of the north-south divide through the Regional Growth Fund, and giving young people a helping hand by boosting apprenticeships.”

> Except in the North East…

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: “The fall in unemployment is welcome. However, it is time to drill down into the details of what types of jobs are being created and where.

“This is because large swathes of the country and a great number of workers have seen little or no benefit from this recovery.

“Much of the growth is due to demographic factors, and the increase in population means GDP per head is still well below 2007 levels. This is the root cause of average earnings being down 13.8% in real terms since then.”

Source –  Hartlepool Mail, 16 July 2014